This week, former President Barack Obama shared something quite personal with millions of his social media followers.
It was a number– a phone number to be exact — with a simple message from the former President: text me.
Before we get to what happens when you do, let’s talk about why he did that.
Election day is creeping up and early voting is already underway in various states across the nation.
With a record number of voters expected to vote by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic, Obama wants to know how you are doing and how you plan to vote this year.
“All right, let’s try something new,” Obama wrote in a post shared on various social media platforms. “If you’re in the United States, send me a text at 773-365-9687 — I want to hear how you’re doing, what’s on your mind, and how you’re planning on voting this year.”
“I’ll be in touch from time to time to share what’s on my mind, too,” he added.
Obama’s post was accompanied with a picture of him and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama looking at a phone.
But the former president is not the only one in the Obama household trying to get in touch with voters.
Michelle Obama is also making the push to register more voters before Election Day through When We All Vote, a nonpartisan voter engagement organization that she co-chairs.
Oh, and necklace she wore during her speech at Democratic National Convention spelling out the word V-O-T-E also went viral.
Here’s what happens when you call
Obama may have shared a number but it’s not actually his personal phone number.
After three rings, and you will hear an all-too-familiar voice of the former President.
“Hi it’s Barack Obama,” he says. “Send me a text and I’ll send you messages from time to time. Looking forward to hearing from you.”
Text the same number– and you get an immediate response.
“Hey! It’s Barack. Click the link to sign up so I can respond directly to you. I won’t be able to get to everything, but I’ll be in touch to share what’s on my mind and I want to hear from you, too. Let’s do this.”
Clicked on the link, and it leads you to Community.com, a text-based platform that enables “direct and instant communication at massive scale, all through text messaging,” according to its website.
To sign up, you input your name, gender, birthday and city– providing your email address is optional.
Obama isn’t the only high profile public figure that has utilized Community to his social media followers. Celebrities like Kerry Washington, Ashton Kutcher, Amy Schumer and Megan Thee Stallion have also used the text-based platform to connect with their fans.